From North to South, from the Chilia branch of the Danube Delta to the border with Bulgaria, these are the Romanian resorts on the Black Sea coast: Navodari, Mamaia, Constanta, Eforie Nord, Eforie Sud, Techirghiol, Costinesti, Olimp, Neptun, Jupiter, Aurora, Venus, Saturn, Mangalia, 2 Mai and Vama Veche. Here are the most notable ones:
Mamaia is the biggest and most beautiful summer resort on the Romanian Black Sea shore. Named “The Pearl of the Romanian Riviera”, it is the oldest Romanian seaside resort (1906). It is situated north-east of Constanta. Mamaia has almost no full time residents, being populated mostly during summer. It is 8 km (5 miles) in length and only 300 m in width, being a strip of land between the Black Sea and Lake Siutghiol. It is especially suited for families with children.
Mamaia is well-known for having the finest sand and the smoothest beach along the entire Romanian Sea coast. The beach season is at its best between mid-May and late September, when average daytime temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The water is warm until late in the autumn.
Leisure activities have developed considerably in past years. Mamaia is now the best destination for water sports in Romania, sports which can be practiced both on the sea but also on the Siutghiol lake. Amenities are very good, most of them being brand new or modernized recently. Characteristic of the resort is the fact that most hotels (over 60 hotels,ranging from mid-end, 2 and 3 stars, to exclusive 4 and 5 stars hotels and private clubs) are very close to the beach. Mamaia features some very good tennis courts, too. The latest additions are the Aqua Magic fun park and the “Telegondola”, a cable car which takes you from one end of the resort to the other, offering a great view over Mamaia, the Black Sea and Sutghiol Lake. Sports like snorkeling, scuba-diving and paragliding are available.
You can make short trips taking a little boat to “Ovid Island”, in the middle of Sutghiol lake, the place where, apparently, is the grave the Roman poet Ovidius Publius Naso, (43 BC-17) who spent his last eight years in exile in the region.
Every year the Summer Theatre of Mamaia is the venue of the Romanian Pop Music Festival.
The 11th reunion of the Central European heads-of-state took place in Mamaia on May 27–May 2004.
Constanta, the capital city of the county, one of Romania’s largest cities, has been built on and around a promontory of land extending into the Black Sea, which has allowed it to shield ships from the strong winds that blow along the seacoast. Its position may also account for its long history, which is that of a seaport ever since the 6th century B.C.. The foundations of the city were laid in some 2,600 years ago, when Greek colonists built the city of Tomis on its present site.
Ancient Tomis has been associated with the legend of Jason and of the Argonauts who embarked on a long voyage from Greece to the Asian country of Colchis on the Black Sea Coast in search of the Golden Fleece. On their return voyage, they laid anchor on the site on which the town of Tomis was to be later on built. Under the Roman rule, Tomis became a prosperous city, graced with statues, temples and a monumental architecture. With Constantinople as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Tomis was rebuilt by Constantine the Great who changed its name to Constantiana (from which the present name of the city has been derived), in honor of his sister. The important events connected to Constanta as a seaport were the building of a lighthouse by the Genovese in the 13th century and the development of the harbor; the Turkish occupation that lasted till 1877 brought about no notable change or improvement. It is only after 1877 that Constanta came close to its past glamour, as it started to be a flourishing trade port with a railway which ensured also land transportation.
Best place for seeing the evidences of the old civilization is the National History and Archeology Museum, in Ovidiu Square. It houses interesting exhibits and ancient art objects, among which a menhir statue belonging to the prehistoric culture of Hamangia representing a female goddess, the statues of Fortuna and Pontos, the patron protectors of ancient Tomis, as well as the Glycon serpent having a snake body but human hair and ears. One should not miss the superb multicolored mosaic of the 13th century situated in the close vicinity of the Town Hall. Constanta, has many other valuable vestiges as well : the Butchers’ Tower, the ancient Roman wall and big ceramic pots, which can be seen in a beautiful archeological park. An impressive public building, thought to have originally been a port building, has been excavated, and contains the substantial remains of one of the longest mosaic pavements in the world.
Ovid’s Statue is easy to locate once you are in the Ovidius Square, being in front of the History Museum (the former City Hall). It represents the Latin poet Ovidius Publius Naso, who was exiled here by Emperor Augustus in 8 A.D.. In Tomis he wrote some of his important works, i.e. the poems Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, which express sadness of being far away from home. Despite his appeals for mercy, Ovid remained in Tomis until his death. The statue was sculptured by the Italian artist Ettore Ferrari and was placed in Constanta in 1887. Ettore Ferrari is also the artist who sculptured the Abraham Lincoln’s statue in Washington.
Turkish rule is evoked by Mahmoud II Mosque, which was built in 1910 in Arabian-Byzantine style, combined with Romanian architectural elements. The biggest Oriental carpet of Romania, 200-year old, with a surface of 144 square meter and a weight of 500 kg is displayed here. It was made by hand by a single person over 17 years. This carpet belonged to the sultan Abdul Hamid. You can go up the minaret, a 50-metre high tower, for an excellent view over the Old City ant the sea.
The Casino, the landmark of Constanta, built in 1909, is the only representative of the Art Nouveau style in Romania. Symbolically, it is hearse-shaped.
Children may be delighted to admire the fish fauna of the Black Sea in the Aquarium or the very intelligent and playful dolphins at the Delphinarium.
The “grown-ups” can go shopping and find various kinds of entertainment along the Tomis Boulevard, the main street of the city, bordered with cinemas and theatres. Are you a fan of jogging? Constanta has beautiful parks, with nice jogging alleys.
Constanta has many options for accommodation, from high quality hotels to rooms in private apartments. It boast two beaches: “Modern” beach – next to the Tomis Port and the Old Casino and “Trei Papuci” beach, in the northern part of the city, close to Mamaia.
Eforie Nord, 14 km south of Constanta, is an all-year-round spa situated on the stripe of land between the Techirghiol lake and the Black Sea. The lake provides a special mud which is used, together with the salty waters, in the treatment of rheumatism and gynecological, dermatological, metabolic and nutritional disorders. Besides the spa facilities, it is a nice seaside resort with wide sandy beaches. In the northern part of Eforie, there is a high cliff, with a promenade lined with restaurants. An alternative to the low-middle-ranged hotels which are in abundance here, you can find accommodation in the more recently built mini-hotels and hostels.
Costinesti is a popular summer destination for young people and students. The season opens here on the 1st of May and attracts a great deal of young people, who create there a particularly pleasant, lively and informal atmosphere. The long beach with fine sand is eastwards oriented, thus benefiting of sun all day long (few beaches in Europe have this privilege). It is less expensive than other Romanian Sea resorts. Beach games and music.
Neptun and Olimp
Neptun and Olimp, situated near a beautiful thick wood and in the vicinity of two sweet water lakes, are probably the best locations on the Romanian Black Sea coast, very popular because of their night life. They used to be privileged oases of leisure for the ‘upper classes’ of Ceausescu’s government. Actually, Ceausescu’s former summer residence is still there. Facilities in Neptun and Olimp are excellent, with numerous sports grounds, taverns, restaurants and clubs. South of Neptun, other resorts like Jupiter, Cap Aurora, Venus and Saturn are the ideal destinations for budget holidays.
Mangalia (44 km away from Constanta), permanent spa, situated at the same latitude as the Mediterranean resorts of Monaco, San Reno and Nice is the southernmost resort of the Black Sea Coast. It is the only place in Romania where in winter the temperature remains above 0 degrees C. Its current name derives from Byzantine Greek (Pangalia or Pancalia- “the most beautiful”-mentioned in the 12th century on a map from Pisa). Mangalia is as old as Constanta, as it was also founded in the 6th century B.C. under the name of Callatis (after the Calles river in Asia Minor). The natural cure factors for which Mangalia is known are the water of the Black Sea, which is chlorinated, sulfated, sodic and hypotonic, as well as the sulfurous, bicarbonated, calcic, mesothermal mineral waters of its springs.
Tourist attractions: the Scythian tomb discovered in 1959 where archaeologists unearthed fragments of a papyrus in Greek, the first document of this kind in Romania; the incineration tombs (the necropolis of the Callatis citadel, dating back to the 4th-2nd centuries B.C.); the ruins of the Callatis citadel (6th century B.C.); the Turkish mosque (16th century); the Archaeology Museum which shelters a rich collection of amphorae and sculptures from the Hellenistic period, fragments of stone sarcophagi, etc. There is also a horse farm , with Arab pure breeds.
Several km to the south of Mangalia, in the summer, one can meet a Bohemian community, i.e. Romanian artists, actors, singers, dancers who come for a holiday in a secluded place, the peaceful village of Vama Veche, a traditional destination for those enjoying quiet beaches, sea swimming and nudism. The name literally means “Old customs point” as it is near the Bulgarian border.
During the communist era, concern for border patrol sight lines spared Vama Veche the development that occurred in other Romanian Black Sea resorts. It became a hangout for intellectuals; for reasons that are not exactly clear, the generally repressive regime of Nicolae Ceausescu chose to tolerate this counter cultural oasis, as long as people had their identity papers with them. Accommodations consisted of tents or rooms rented from peasants or fishermen.
After the Romanian Revolution, the village of Vama Veche began to develop into just another mainstream sea-side resort and a campaign “Save Vama Veche” was initiated by the Academia Catavencu newspaper against this trend. They also organized each year starting 2003 a music festival, Stufstock, to protest against bad quality music (i.e. manele and Romanian pop music) and to lobby for the area’s environmental conservation and a halt to development and mass tourism, but all these actually had the reverse effect: the village stopped being a small, clean and quiet place, as the festival and concerts attracted more than 40,000 people in the 2005 edition